TN (Trade NAFTA)
What is TN
The TN is a temporary work visa status for citizens of Canada and Mexico established as part of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The TN is a temporary work visa status for citizens of Canada and Mexico established as part of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under this agreement, a citizen of a NAFTA country may work in a professional occupation in another NAFTA country provided that:
- The profession is on the NAFTA Professional Job Series list (Appendix 1603.D.1) (all university teaching and research positions qualify),
- The individual (scholar) possesses the requisite educational background (minimum of a Bachelor’s degree) and experience for that position.
- The prospective position requires someone in that professional capacity and
- The individual (scholar) is going to work for a U.S. employer (i.e., NYU).
How to Get TN
Scholar Services will gladly answer any questions that you may have about TN status however, all requests for TN status sponsorship must originate from the NYU hiring department at least 3 months prior to the desired appointment start date.
Please get in touch with your department liaisons, who will then communicate the request to Scholar Services. Our office will respond with a job letter template as well as specific, up-to-date guidance.
In most cases, travel is recommended for all new (including concurrent) and extension TN scholars. It is not a requirement to submit a TN petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), however, Scholar Services can file if you are unable to travel.
TN petitions may be filed via Premium Processing. Premium Processing grants an adjudication within 15 calendar days unless USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE). If an RFE is issued, the case review "clock" stops and once the additional evidence is submitted, it restarts again from the beginning. If neither an adjudication nor an RFE is received within 15 calendar days, USCIS is required to refund the filing fee. Premium Processing may be requested at the time of filing or after the case is already pending.
Citizens of Canada or Mexico may enter the U.S. in TN status from the start date of their appointment for up to 3 years for a “pre-arranged” position at NYU. Extensions of stay are possible in up to 3-year increments. There is no limit on the total number of years a TN visitor can stay in the U.S., though TN status is intended to be temporary and not to be used for permanent residence. TN visitors must maintain nonimmigrant intent and plan to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of their TN status as indicated on the I-94 admission record.
Make sure you have the appropriate entry documents with you prior to arriving in the United States. Please review the OGS Travel Information page for complete details. In general, citizens of Canada must provide the following at the port of entry:
- A request for TN status (no special form for this)
- An original college degree and copies of any employment records which establish qualification for the prospective job
- A letter from the Director or Department Chair offering stating that the position you will hold at New York University is either Teacher, University or Research Assistant
- A visa processing fee (in US dollars)
- A valid Canadian passport
- Effective January 26, 2021, all travelers entering the US require a negative COVID-19 test. [As of December 28, 2020 all travelers entering the US from the UK require a negative COVID-19 test.] Air passengers are required to get a viral test within 3 days before their flight to the US departs. Travelers are also required to provide written documentation of their lab result to the airline or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. More details regarding documentation for a negative test and FAQs can be found with the Centers for Disease Control.
Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate, but instead receive TN status from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at the port of entry, which should be indicated on the I-94 admission record.
Mexican citizens must apply for a TN visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate with similar supporting documents as listed above for Canadians.
Please note, these directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Department of State/ US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ultimately provides the decision on your visa application/US entry. You must be accurate and truthful in your application. Be aware that any information you withhold from your application, or inaccurate information you accidentally or intentionally include in your application, could result in a visa denial or denial of entry. This information also includes your social media presence.
How to Stay Legal While in TN
These are the steps every TN scholar must follow in order to maintain legal status while in the United States:
1. Make sure your immigration documents are valid and unexpired
- Passport valid at least six months into the future
- I-94 admission record for TN status
- Upon U.S. entry, you should get your I-94 admission record online, which will show the date by which you must exit the U.S. after your employment ends. As long as your I-94 end date has not passed and you remain in the position at NYU (and/or with any other authorized employers), you will be in TN status. If there are any concerns about the information on the I-94, you should contact Scholar Services to discuss.
- I-797 Approval Notice (if a petition was filed with USCIS)
- For Canadian citizens only: Keep a copy of visa fee payment receipt for TN status for future re-entry into the U.S.
- For Mexican citizens only: A TN visa is needed for travel and re-entry into the U.S. however, a TN visa may be expired if you remain in the U.S.
2. Update your local address within 10 days of a move
All non-immigrants are required to notify USCIS within 10 days of a change of residential address by completing Form AR-11 online. Please also notify Scholar Services of your updated address by e-mailing email@example.com.
3. Notify Scholar Services of early departure
- If you will be leaving NYU prior to the original end date, please notify Scholar Services via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Include your name, visa type, original and new end date, and reason for early departure in the message.
- Note: DHS officers may grant a 10-day grace period to individuals in TN status. It is important to note this grace period is not automatically provided but is granted as a matter of discretion on a case by case basis. DHS officers have discretion to grant a full 10-day grace period, some portion of the grace period or no grace period at all. To determine when your status expires, you should always refer to your I-94 document.
4. Notify Scholar Services of substantial changes in NYU employment
Your permission to work at NYU in TN status is based on the terms and conditions presented in the TN letter from the NYU hiring department (or in the TN petition filed with USCIS, if applicable). Accordingly, you should not accept any changes in the terms of employment (other than a standard salary increase) without first consulting Scholar Services.
5. Do not accept unauthorized employment
TN status is employer-specific. Unless another employer has written a TN letter and you have entered the U.S. in TN status for both NYU and that employer or another employer has filed a TN petition for you with USCIS, you may not engage in any type of additional employment.
6. Contact Scholar Services if your TN status needs to be extended
If your appointment at NYU will be extended and you still require TN status, speak to your department administrator about requesting an extension from Scholar Services 3-6 months in advance of your current end date.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of the principal TN employee can enter the U.S. in TD status.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of the principal TN employee can enter the U.S. in TD (Trade Dependent) status. Canadian dependents can obtain TD status at the port of entry, but Mexican dependents as well as dependents who are not Canadian citizens must apply for a TD visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate. Dependents must provide proof of relationship to the TN employee (marriage or birth certificate). If arriving to the U.S. after the TN has entered, TD dependents should also carry a copy of the TN’s job offer letter and I-94 admission record. TD dependents are not permitted to work in the U.S, however they are permitted to study.
All new scholars should register with Scholar Services upon arrival or approval of a change of status.
REGISTER WITH SCHOLAR SERVICES
A registration form is included with the visa documents sent to you. If you are entering from outside the United States, we request you attach a copy of your visa stamp and I-94 entry/exit document, which can be accessed from the US Customs and Border Control website. Upon registration, you also have the option of joining the International Scholars Network Email List which enables you to connect with other international scholars at NYU. Don't forget to register!